Do party pix drain moral authority from booze ban idea?

COLUMBIA, Mo 6/27/14 (Beat Byte) --  A Keep Columbia Free (KCF) story that mixed satire, punditry, and plenty of photos has sparked a "rhetoric versus reality" controversy about First Ward Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick's plan to ban alcohol in Douglass Park. 

The liberty advocacy group posted the story Wednesday, but replaced it with a toned-down version yesterday after KCF president Mark Flakne had second thoughts about the story's potential for "dirty politics." 

"It included 20-some photos of Councilwoman Chadwick consuming alcohol around town and across the country along with a couple of screen shots of posts from her page extolling the virtues of alcohol," Flakne wrote in the follow-up piece, which replaces the photos with a single meme (above).  "The intent was to expose the hypocrisy of a white councilwoman who often drinks publicly and who is working to ban public alcohol consumption in Columbia’s central city park, a park long frequented by Black citizens who live in the area."

Chadwick proposed the ban at the June 2 Columbia City Council meeting.  A chorus of condemnation followed, most notably from black community leaders, editorial writer Carl Kenney, and residents concerned City Hall is ignoring the larger problem of student drinking -- both legally and underage -- downtown. 

"Drunken college kids and sloshed middle-aged tailgaters stumble through the streets between Downtown and Faurot Field, most of them white and most of them affluent," Flakne noted, with several videos to illustrate.   "The post-game apocalypse leaves the ground covered with beer can fallout and barf."  

Chadwick's predecessor Fred Schmidt also proposed a Douglass Park alcohol ban, but "quickly forgot the proposal after a significant public outcry led by Keep Columbia Free," Flakne explained.

The latest outcry may have prompted another proposal from the Councilwoman that heightens the rhetoric vs. reality angle:  ban alcohol in all city parks. 

"Chadwick confronted the controversy surrounding her plan to ban alcohol at Douglass Park with a press release communicating a plan to ban alcohol at all city parks," Kenney wrote on his Rev-elution commentary site.   "The language of the recent press release diverts attention from a policy perceived as racially driven."